Can I have a ‘rip-off’ please?
The Fethiye Times Turkish speaker learned the language when young and, approaching sixty, is still learning. The recent trip to Kars presented the opportunity to acquire ski slope vocabulary, which was eagerly seized.
When the group wanted to hire a toboggan, the word for which I did not know, I pointed to one hurtling down the slope and asked a nearby Turk “What do you call that in Turkish?” It’s so easy when you can ask for the names of things. “Kızak” was the reply.
So we all strolled (with a bit of slipping and sliding) across the nursery slopes to the hut from which ‘kızak’ could be hired.
There is also a word ‘kazık’ in Turkish which means a ‘rip off’ and, you can see what’s coming can’t you? The ageing brain confused the two and when we arrived at the hut I asked the man if we could ‘rent a rip-off’. I didn’t even realise I’d made a mistake, the hire man (in true Turkish phonetic fashion) looked baffled as he was incapable of recognising my mistake – just could not make any sense of what he was being asked for. Fortunately there was an educated Istanbul Turk nearby who had heard my request, instantly understood what had happened, and sorted it out whilst laughing uncontrollably.
Result: a toboggan was produced for those wishing to hurtle, and my new found friend from Istanbul and I shared a very amusing five minutes worth of mistakes foreigners make when trying to speak Turkish. It’s a good many years since I made such a funny one. Goes to show you’re never too old.
Let us know about mistakes you’ve made – only funny ones of course.